I want to give you some recommendations for visiting the Alhambra as a result of my latest trip. Already on a previous trip, we had visited it but we wanted to see this special and unique place again.
Also, I wanted to share better photos than those I could take on my first trip. The Alhambra is one of the most visited places in Spain so it is a must if you travel to Granada.
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How to get to the Alhambra
To get to the Alhambra you can take the Alhambra bus which is a group of special tourist buses. The C30 takes you from the center and the C32 from the Albayzín neighborhood.
But from these two points, it’s also possible to walk if you have time. We stayed in an apartment located on Cuesta de Gomerez street that leads to the Alhambra, so we chose to walk.
You can also search for accommodation near the Alhambra with the help of this map:
The road to the Alhambra is surrounded by nature and it’s very enjoyable, people even come for jogging. After crossing the Gate Las Granadas you are already in the forests of the Alhambra. It took us about 15 or 20 minutes to reach the main access on foot.
Tips for visiting the Alhambra
Visiting the Alhambra a few years ago was quite easy. At that time we bought the Granada Card, which included the entrance to the Alhambra. It was my first trip to Europe and we traveled in October. Check out about that first experience on this post.
Now we made the visit in December and we bought the tickets directly at the monument. Based on these experiences, I give you these tips to have a pleasant time visiting the Alhambra.
The first recommendation for visiting the Alhambra is to arrive early. The complex is quite big if you include the Generalife. so to enjoy it without rushing the best thing is that you consider visiting the Alhambra in the morning.
Also, sometimes it can be crowded, and the complete visit can take you at least 3 hours.
Book in advance in high season
The truth is we didn’t make a reservation in any of the times that I visited it. But none of my visits was in high season. So if you are traveling in the summer, book online for visiting the Alhambra or buy the tourist card.
You can also book a guided tour to know more about this fantastic XIII century complex and to avoid the queues and waiting.
By the way, on the two occasions that I traveled to Granada, there were holidays that I had not foreseen. The first time was on October 12 (Hispanic day) and this time it was December 8 (Immaculate Conception day).
As these are free days, nationals take the chance to travel to nearby cities. Then the monuments get crowded and the accommodation options are scarce. On this link, you can check the holidays in Spain and its regions.
Carry your ID
If you are not experienced travelers, you might not always travel with your passport or ID. Sometimes I even take it out of my bag and I don’t always carry it with me.
In several museums, including the Alhambra, they ask you for an ID to buy tickets. And if you have companions, also theirs. On my most recent visit to the Alhambra, I came with my husband and they requested our IDs. Although in the office they only allowed one person to enter to buy the tickets.
There was not a long queue and buying tickets was quite fast. The same the entrance for visiting the Alhambra.
Arrive on time to the Nasrid Palaces
On your ticket will be printed the time at which you must access the Nasrid Palaces. You must arrive punctually or a little earlier because they control the access and sometimes there’s a queue to enter.
In any case, the line moves fast so don’t worry if you get delayed a few minutes.
Visit first the Nasrid Palaces
The Nasrid Palaces are the most richly decorated rooms in the complex. Here you will want to spend more time and take more photos.
You will only be able to access once to the buildings of the Alhambra and once you leave you will not be able to enter again. One of these is the Alcazaba so if you are in a hurry to get to the Nasrid Palaces you’ll not be able to enjoy it.
I mention this because it’s what happened to us. From the time we entered we had an hour before our visit to the Nasrid Palaces. We followed the recommended route in the brochure and the signs in the Alhambra.
The walk from the ticket offices to the Nasrid palaces takes several minutes. We entered the Alcazaba thinking that we would come out on time, but it was not like that.
In the Alcazaba, there are many towers that you’d want to climb to take pictures of the views. So I recommend you to take your time to enjoy it
If you didn’t enter by the main entrance and you already had your ticket you can ignore this advice. Or maybe you see that you have enough time before the appointed hour for the palaces then will be ok.
Choose between 3 entries
By the way, there are 3 accesses through which you can enter when visiting the Alhambra. The main access is where you can find the ticket office and through where I entered. The Gate of Justice is the one through which I left. And if I’d have had a ticket, it would have been better for me to enter through here because it was the nearest gate. And the Gate de Los Carros which is between the other two entrances.
In fact, we were somehow lost when we wanted to leave. We walked around the same area several times until we asked a girl who told us to exit through the Gate of Justice.
You can dowload the map of the Alhambra on this link.
In fact, you can see a large area of the Alhambra without a ticket. Except, of course, the Palaces, the Alcazaba and the Generalife. You can enter to the Carlos V Palace’s inner courtyard for free. This Renaissance palace houses the Museum of Fine Arts and the Alhambra Museum. The admission for each museum costs € 1.5
Be ready to walk
If you want to see the entire Alhambra, be ready to walk. Wear comfortable shoes, and if it’s summer, something that protects you from the sun. It’s also possible to bring your own water bottle and some snacks.
There are many open areas like gardens where you can sit down and eat a sandwich. There are also some shops where you can buy a snack and drinks, but you know that they tend to be somewhat expensive.
Anyway, the center is not far away so before or after visiting the Alhambra you can eat something in the many establishments available.
I hope these tips are useful and if you have any questions or contributions for other travelers, share them with us in the comments section.
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Thanks for stopping by and bon voyage! 🙂